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Helsinki Tours, Vacation Packages & Travel Experiences


  • A scenic summer view of historical center of Helsinki - typically the starting point of all Finland vacations.
  • Railway station in Helsinki
  • Fortress of Sveaborg
  • Public transport vehicle in Helsinki

Helsinki Travel Information

Helsinki (Finnish) or Helsingfors (Swedish)  is the capital of Finland. Founded in 1550, the "Daughter of the Baltic" has been the Finnish capital since 1812, when it was rebuilt by the Czars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg, a role it has played in many a Cold War movies, all to be experienced on Finland vacations. 

Today, Helsinki combines being something of an international metropolis while still retaining a small-town feel. The best time to visit is in summer, when Finns peel off their overcoats and flock to outdoor bars and cafes to enjoy the sunshine. Helsinki's population is about 600,000, but the Greater Helsinki region including the suburbs of the neighboring administrative areas of Espoo and Vantaa has a population of over 1.3 million. The suburbs rapidly give way to small towns, farms and forests. 

The city is officially bilingual, with an 86% Finnish-speaking majority and a visible 6% Swedish-speaking minority. However, most of the Finnish-speaking majority only knows the very basics of Swedish, which they learn in school. Most Finns speak English more fluently than Swedish. Street names and many signs in Helsinki are in both Finnish and Swedish enhancing your Finland vacation with that extra layer of multiculturalism.

Helsinki Tour Highlights

There are many major sights to enjoy in Helsinki. Popular with locals, Esplanade Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city, while Helsinki Cathedral is a beautiful and historically significant Evangelical Lutheran church. Within Helsinki itself, the city centre is on the southern peninsula at the end of the city's main thoroughfare Mannerheimintie. Both the central railway station and the main bus terminal are in the city centre. 

Market Square

As the name suggests, Market Square contains an outstanding market located on the waterfront. It sells mainly fresh produce (vegetables, fruit, and seafood) and regional delicacies. You can take it all in at one of the many cafes around the square. While sitting there, observe the Presidential Palace and the Helsinki City Hall. If you are in Helsinki in October, you can experience the annual Herring Market, when boats arrive, loaded with this fish, which is sold directly from the vessels. This has been going on for well over two centuries.

Senate Square

Senate Square is part of the oldest section of Helsinki and contains a number of important buildings. The Square and its immediate vicinity is the site of many of the city’s most important historical and cultural landmarks. Among the notable buildings around the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the University of Helsinki’s principal building, and the oldest building in this section of the city, Sederholm House which dates back to 1757. Senate Square was designed during the time Helsinki was under the administration of the Russian government, and when you look at the architectural style of many of the buildings, you may be reminded of Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral is commonly referred to as the Lutheran Cathedral. It is designed in the neoclassical style and, when built in 1852, it was inspired by Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg, giving it a Russian Orthodox atmosphere. On the roof of this iconic cathedral are sculptures of the Twelve Apostles and in the crypt is a collection of exhibits about the cathedral’s history.

Temppeliaukio Church

This is a modern underground church designed by Finnish architects in 1969. It is a unique structure, carved out of solid rock and the interior walls have been left unadorned. The roof is at ground level and is covered in copper and rests on the rock walls. Inside the church, skylights bathe the church interior with natural sunlight. The church holds concerts where the acoustics are outstanding.

The Sibelius Monument

This is a striking sculpture created in 1967 to honour Finland’s most famous composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Its design, certainly impressive but also controversial, is a wave-like combination of 600 stainless steel pipes resembling organ pipes which took 4 years to complete. It has a bust of the composer on one side.

The Design District

The Design District is a vibrant area full of fascinating shops, galleries and museums where you will discover that art is a part of everyday life. It covers 25 streets with 200 buildings. Pick up a Design District Helsinki map and check out the selection of over 200 boutique shops, museums, galleries and cafes. This will give an insight into Finnish design. The Design Museum itself has a vast collection of more than 75,000 objects.

Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna is a number of small islands connected by bridges located in Helsinki Harbour and reached by ferry. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is actually the site of a fortress originally built in the mid 18th Century to protect the city, and remains one of the largest sea fortresses in the world. Today, there are several museums only open in the summer within the imposing fortress walls which detail the history of the fortress as well as Finland’s only remaining World War II submarine.

Seurasaari

This is another island just outside of Helsinki which is an open-air museum with a collection of more than 80 historic wooden buildings acquired from different parts of Finland. These include everything from mansions to churches giving you the opportunity to view Finnish life from the 18th to the 20th Century. Tours are available with guides dressed in traditional Finnish costumes from June to August. There are also demonstrations of folk dancing and handicrafts. An added benefit to those on Finland vacations is the ability to stroll around the picturesque wooded island.

Extend your Stay

Consider an additional stopover to your Finland vacations at one of Goway's other European destinations. You can choose from  a Paris vacation, a London vacation or an Amsterdam vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from Finland.

 

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Helsinki, Finland

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